LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo., March 28, 2006 – At the Missouri Ducks Unlimited convention last weekend, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announced its new 5-year commitment of $1.25 million in support of wetland and waterfowl conservation in Prairie Canada. The MDC has increased its contribution to $250,000 annually for five years beginning in 2007. This contribution is significant and exemplifies its longtime support of DU's waterfowl and wetland conservation activities in Canada.
"It is critical that the Missouri Department of Conservation does its part to conserve waterfowl for future generations, whether it's on the migration and wintering areas in Missouri or the breeding grounds in Canada," said MDC Chairman Lowell Mohler. "DU has a proven track record of wetland habitat protection, restoration and enhancement. I'm confident DU and our many partners will leverage MDC's contribution to the maximum extent possible, enabling them to positively impact thousands of acres of waterfowl habitat in Canada."
Funds contributed by the MDC will go to DU's habitat conservation activities in western Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. MDC's contribution will be matched by DU which will then use the combined amount to obtain a matching grant from the U.S. federal government under provisions of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The result will be an increase and improvement of waterfowl habitat on thousands of acres in Canada.
"Waterfowl band recoveries in Missouri show most ducks harvested here originate from the Canadian prairies," said MDC Director John Hoskins. "It's not enough to provide migration and wintering habitat for ducks in Missouri. We also need to improve conditions for those same birds during the breeding period while they are in Canada."
"Partnerships among state, federal and local organizations are the key to putting waterfowl habitat on the ground throughout North America," said DU's Southern Region Director of Public Policy Ross Melinchuk. "The Missouri Department of Conservation is a longstanding partner in our efforts to stem the loss of wetlands. By increasing their financial support to this degree, they have firmly established their role as a waterfowl and wetlands champion among state fish and wildlife agencies. We are proud to serve as their partner in this international conservation initiative."
Since 1980, the MDC has contributed $3.75 million to DU for waterfowl and wetlands conservation in Prairie Canada. Missouri has been awarded more than $11.6 million in NAWCA grants for in-state wetland projects since the program began in 1990, reinforcing MDC's commitment to continental waterfowl conservation.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands Â− nature's most productive ecosystem − and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.